Thursday, April 12, 2012

Who Is Tugging On Your Cape?

Pure Joy? All these trials we face as Christians, why would anyone call them pure joy? The salvation we have in Christ doesn't mean we will be free from trials in life.  Just the opposite is true.  You have a great big target on your back that is highly recognizable by Satan.  He sees you as one of God's very own and he aims his flaming arrows right at you...or your child...or a loved one.  James 1:2-3 says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance."  I don't know about you, but if Satan or his legion of fallen angels takes aim against myself or my household, I have a strategic counter attack plan with the most powerful Warrior who ever lived doing battle on my behalf.

When you become a believer in Christ, you are an enemy of the devil and the dark forces of this world.  Satan's primary goal is to try to destroy you.  He will try to shake your faith and make you doubt you are loved by Christ.  Christ offers peace during our trials by equipping us with His knowledge of how to overcome the enemy.  

The moment we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are given weapons that God Himself is wearing.  "He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak." (Isaiah 59:17)  God has provided these weapons and armor for us.  Take time to read Ephesians 6:13-20.  Paul describes six pieces of armor that the believer in Christ is given--a belt, a breastplate, shoes, a shield, a helmet, and a sword.  This armor represents truth, upright character, the gospel faith, salvation, and the Bible.

When I get dressed in the morning, I make sure I am equipped with the right clothes for the right activity.  Heading to the grocery store requires somewhat less formal attire than say, dressing for a date with my husband.  Not that he'd notice but you understand what I'm saying. The same is true if my child comes home and tells me that he caught the most awesome football during recess.  I'm equipped to respond with a "high five" and praise his prowess as a great football player!  But what if my son comes home and relates to me that he is constantly bothered by a child who calls him names, swings him around by the tail of his shirt, and shoves him?  What equipping is needed to deal with this situation?  God tells us "the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, [the weapons we fight with] have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient."  

Do you ever stop to think about "who" your battles are against?  Is it really your child's bully, an unpleasant neighbor, or even that one family member who is causing you turmoil? If you are a mother, grandmother, aunt, or sister--you have been privy to at least one occasion when a precious child whom you love has been treated unfairly.  If you respond as the world responds, you immediately think of at least eighteen ways to retaliate, react, and repay the evildoer for causing distress to your "precious little one!"  There's not a chance you plan on being passive, lax or idle!  We're like a biting dog when it comes to defending someone we love!  But who are we defending them against?

Be assured that your greatest battles are not with any man, woman, or child.  Paul says in Ephesians 6:12 that our struggle is not against human enemies.  They include the spiritual beings that fell with Satan and are the ranks of his "army."  Satan delights in tormenting us.  He does this best by tormenting those whom we love.  I recently was reminded of a Jim Croce song that says:

You don't tug on Superman's cape
You don't spit into the wind
You don't pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger
And you don't mess around with Jim

Most of you don't know that the inside joke there is that my Dad's name was "Jim."  He was the kind of man who people "did not mess around with!"  My Dad was a rough and tough kind of guy who was armed (literally) when he drove his car, his motorhome, or his boat.  I truly thought everyone's Dad carried a .357 Magnum wherever they went.  It's funny what you believe when you are growing up.  You think everyone lives pretty much just like you do.  You get used to it. 

As a child of God who adorns the full armor of God, I know that I know many of the trials we face come from Satan and the dark principalities of this world.  Satan knows we get used to hearing bad news, seeing a loved one suffer from addictions, watching horrific tragedies play out in our world, etc.  We get used to it. I'm sure he hopes we blame these events on someone being at the wrong place at the wrong time or people making poor life choices. However, when the flaming arrows of Satan comes to myself or my family you can rewrite the lyrics to say:

You don't tug on Superman's cape
You don't spit into the wind
You don't pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger
And you don't mess around with Me!

Nothing strikes a chord with a mother more than if one of her own has been hurt!  Satan has met his match!  If you are doing battle against a stronghold in your life or the life of a loved one, take up the very armor God wears and equip yourself with His power.  In spite of your own weaknesses or failures, you must be completely honest before God in order to overcome Satan.  Name the situation that has a stronghold in your life or the life of a loved one.  Confess it and ask for help and forgiveness for you/your loved one.  Pray for God to disperse his heavenly angels around the person you are holding up in prayer.  Pray scripture during your prayer time.  When Jesus was in the wilderness, he was tested by Satan.  Jesus rebuked Satan three times with three different scriptures. (Matthew 4:1-11)  If you are not sure which scriptures apply to your particular situation, look in the back of your Bible for the concordance which lists topics alphabetically.  If you don't have a concordance, google or do a word search for scriptures relating to your present situation.  I love the book of Psalm and pray many of the Psalms daily.  Psalms 34, 35, 40, and 119 are a great place to start if you are unfamiliar with the Book of Psalm.

Dear God,
You are Mighty, All Powerful, and The Great Defender.  Thank you for the trial that has been placed before me--may this trial grow me or my loved one to complete maturity in Christ.  Please help me fight the battle that has come to my doorstep.  Equip me with Your protective armor as I do battle on my knees for myself or my loved one.  Please fight this battle for me in the heavenly realms against Satan and the dark principalities of this world.  Dispatch your heavenly angels to surround myself or my loved one.  I know that the victory is yours and you are working this for my ultimate good.  Thank you, Lord, that He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world! (1John 4:4).  In Jesus name, Amen.

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